Hunter competition debuted in the Grand Prix Stadium Sunday morning, November 8 for the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby sponsored by Marshall and Sterling. Thirty-one entries competed over the natural obstacles, with Katie Taylor (Tarzana, CA) and L’Con Reyes triumphing the competition to emerge victorious with a grand total score of 379. The reserve ribbon was awarded to Nicole Bourgeois (Winsolville, OR) aboard Understated whose score totaled 365 overall. Rounding out the top three was Jamie Sailor (Moorpark, CA) with Get Rowdy who earned a two-round score totaling 364.
Katie Taylor on L’Con Reyes. Photo by ESI.
Paul Jewell (Ewing, NJ) built a beautiful course for riders to compete against. The first round consisted of twelve obstacles, four of which riders had the option to jump a higher fence for additional points. Following the first round, the top twelve horse and rider pairs were asked back to compete in the handy round. The ten obstacle course included a trot fence and riders were able to earn extra points for opting to jump any of the high option fences in addition to earning up to ten extra points for handiness.
Katie Taylor on L’Con Reyes in their presentation ceremony. Photo by ESI.
“I wanted to build an open, forward course for riders with plenty of track options in both rounds,” commented Jewell. “Jump placement in such an open arena like this really helped in making that happen.”
Taylor and L’Con Reyes returned last in the handy after carrying over the highest first round score of 187. “Round one, I loved everything about it. I walked out there and thought it would be a fun course and it sure was. He just walked right out there and you could tell at jump one he was ready to perform,” exclaimed Taylor.
The eleven year old gelding, owned by Bravado LLC and trained by David Busstillos of Durango Farms, has been a consistent mount of Taylor’s for three years now. This is the pair’s second international derby win together and they hope to have the privilege of attending International Derby Finals in this coming year.
About the Desert International Horse Park
With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.